Whether you are a competitive tournament player or a casual gamer, it’s important to find the right type of Magic The Gathering deck to suit your play style. Some decks thrive off heavy offense (lots of creatures or direct damage spells) and others from their defense (counter-magic and removal spells). Depending on what Magic cards are available to you, you can also build a “combo deck” that combines a a few different cards together to provide an instant win condition.
Aggressive “Speed” Decks
Aggressive decks come in all colors and styles. The strategy you will be employing with this style of Magic deck is to overrun your opponent with damage faster than he can handle. Cheap, powerful creatures and damage spells help you get a quick start. It may be good to include a handful of more expensive creatures or spells in case your opponent is still alive after you run out of your smaller threats. But your primary objective is still to bring your opponent from 20 to 0 life points as quick as possible.
Defensive “Control” Decks
A control deck will utilize removal spells, counter-magic, and good defensive creatures to keep your opponent at bay. This type of Magic deck takes a lot longer to win, as victory is earned slowly by controlling the board. Mass creature removal spells, and deck-searching spells are extremely handy. When you can handle multiple threats with just one card, you gain an advantage. When you can do this several times per game, while staying alive, you greatly increase your chances of victory.
Instant-Win “Combo” Decks
A Magic deck based upon a 3-card (or 4-card) combo has only one way to win – play all of the cards in your combo and win instantly. These decks are often completely wacky to watch in action. However, they require a great deal of both luck and skill to win consistently. If you play this kind of deck against your friends, they may get irritated! Most combo decks don’t have any other way of winning besides the combo, so the degree of interaction between you and your opponent is more limited. Usually it’s just a matter of trying to get your combo out before your life points are gone.
Hybrid Decks & Cluster Decks
Magic decks don’t have to fall into just one of the three above categories – they can be hybrids. For example, a deck might contain both aggressive and defensive elements. Or it may contain several good card combos that are able to help you win, without requiring any specific combo. That is often referred to as a cluster deck, as many card “clusters” will help give you an advantage.
A “net deck” is simply slang for a Magic deck you copied off the internet, often one that won a major tournament. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea if you’re new to deckbuilding, and have a lot of cards at your disposal. As long as you are able to learn the strategies involved it can be a great way to save time building a deck. Some Magic players get irritated by playing against net decks, but there’s only so many deck ideas to go around, right?
A rogue deck is a deck no one’s seen before. It’s a completely original work of art. The best part about playing a rogue deck is that no one will know what to expect (well, at least not until after the first game!) If you can find a good use for cards that are normally overlooked, building a rogue deck can earn you a lot of respect. You might even get your deck copied! The major downside of a rogue deck is that it may not be as reliable as a net deck. While a net deck has been tested extensively, a rogue deck might have weaknesses against many popular deck types.
Try Them All
During your Magic The Gathering gaming experience, it’s a fun idea to try many different types of decks and see which ones you enjoy playing the most. Find out which ones work best for your play style. But most of all, don’t forget to have fun!